July 21, 2024

Speech Night celebrates excellence

KWAME MOABI

The traditional academic procession of the educators in their black gowns, along with the guest speaker for the evening, created an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation in the Universitas Geloofsentrum. For the past year those educators’ consistent determination to strive for excellence enabled the prize winners to reach their goals.

Dr Johan Cromhout welcomed the guest speaker, Ms Lerato Bereng, an SMS Old Girl of 2003. This admirable woman has made a name for herself in the world of Fine Arts. 

Ms Bereng gave credit to how the school nurtured her growth and groomed her to be the independent woman she is today. In an interview conducted with her, she revealed how the school encouraged her circle of friends and her classmates to excel and how it gave them the necessary tools and opportunities to do so. She added that they were taught the meaning of community and teamwork at St Michael’s – concepts that have been instrumental in her professional development.   

When asked for a message to the Class of 2021, she said, ‘I was amazed by these eloquent, confident young women. You are exactly who you need to be. You may still be figuring out your unique voice, but trust yourself. The part of you that will lead you to greatness is already there. 17-year-old me made one of the most important decisions of my life and I’m eternally grateful for her foresight. Learn as much as you can wherever and from whomever you can. Be fearless and make sure you occupy your light. Congratulations, you’re halfway to being a superstar!’

Only the best of the best receive special awards at Speech Night. The highest award that St Michael’s bestows is the Laureate. This year Katherine Burt-Robinson, Jasca de Abreu and Zenay Harmse received Gold Laureates. New Silver Laureates were awarded to Rabia Ali, Kgosatsana Mabalane and 

Tshepang Motsetse. Eleven learners received Honours Badges for Academics, Debating and Music respectively.

Head Girl of 2021, Kgotsatsana Mabalane, thanked the guest speaker for her address. Bishop Dintoe Letloenyane concluded the evening with a blessing. 

Speech Night 2021, and in fact all Speech Nights for the past decade, would not have been possible without the dedication of Dr Johan Cromhout who revealed some interesting facts about what happens behind the scenes of Speech Night.

According to him, the hunt to find a guest speaker who has done something out of the ordinary to achieve her dreams already takes place in the second term.

In a number of meetings winners of awards such as the Laureates and Honours Badges are discussed. Mr Henry van Coller works out the final marks that determine the academic standing of the learners for Speech Night. 

Catering is planned, trophies have to be polished and certificates and programmes have to be printed.

The Laureate Awards are the ‘cherry on top’ for Dr Cromhout. He elaborates on what a privilege it is to receive a Laureate: ‘A lot of tough deliberation goes into the final decisions and so to see the most deserving learners earn the award is such a pleasure.’

The 101st of its kind, Speech Night 2021 was an evening where standards were set and exceptional achievements were rewarded.

The Senior Chapel Choir’s riveting performance gave everyone present goose bumps. Dedication and pride could be seen on the faces of the choristers who sang with all their heart.